Tarantino Unchained



Suggested Audio Jukebox ♫

[1] Stealers Wheel “Stuck in The Middle With You”

[2] Tomoyasu Hotei “Battle Without Honor or Humanity”

[3] Quincy Jones “Ironside (Excerpt)”

[4] Kool & The Gang “Jungle Boogie”



I love Quentin Tarantino. This man could pull down his breeches and take a steaming dump in my back yard, right amidst my chrysanthemums, and I would sprinkle seeds in it and grow his feces into a tree. Then, years later, once it had become strong enough to take my weight, I would hang a rope swing from said tree and spend my summers perched there while reading eighteenth century Polish literature. That is how much I adore Quentin. It’s not just the fact that he makes fine movies although that admittedly is how he became known to me in the first place. It’s the fact that he has never once forgotten where he came from or why he got into the business to start with. He’s a geek, not the kind that bites the heads off chickens at shady carnivals off the beaten track, but the type that has an extensive collection of laser-discs and names his goldfish Sergio. Quentin is, in no way whatsoever, a nerd. Let me make that abundantly clear from the offset. He may exhibit numerous nerdy mannerisms and could easily hold his own at a Warhammer convention but he also made Pulp Fiction and you tell me a nerd alive who could make a movie that freaking cool then follow it up with Jackie Brown. Precisely. Quentin Tarantino is the balls and not the slightly off-kilter, weathered variety either. The big shiny ones; shiny enough to straighten your tie using their reflection.


So, now that we have established that, allow me to further elaborate on why this man is the epitome of the balls to me. What better place to start than by taking a brief glance at his career. Soon he will be releasing his eighth movie, The Hateful Eight. Anyone who really wants to be pedantic can feel free to point out that this doesn’t take into account any other projects he has been attached to or, indeed, his 1987 film My Best Friend’s Birthday. However, this was never actually completed and, besides, even James Cameron was afforded Piranha 2: Flying Killers before belting out The Terminator and you’ve got to give the guy a chance to find his feet. So, cutting Quentin the necessary slack, we start with Reservoir Dogs and that’s not such a bad place to begin, all things considered. Tarantino actually finished the first draft in under a month and was all set to shoot using a group of friends on a budget of around $30k before Harvey Keitel stepped in and offered, not only to appear, but also to help produce this behemoth. Et voila; the budget sky rocketed to $1.2m and it went on to become the most talked about movie of 1992, courting no end of controversy in the process. As we all know; there is no such thing as bad press.


It would be easy to turn this into a history lesson, scouring IMDb and Wikipedia for every single fact about Quentin and his films, but I have no interest in scribing an article thousands of others have already churned out as what would really be the point in that exercise? Besides, what really interests me is getting inside that glorious elongated cranium of his and poking around a little as that is a far more enjoyable and rewarding notion. Thus, if you are looking for cold hard Quentin facts then you have come to precisely the wrong place and I would recommend either of the above sources for your sterile fix. I would much rather make some assumptions and jump to a few conclusions of my own based on the numerous times that I have watched him being interviewed or speaking in public. Fuck gaining gold stars; I’d much rather that, should he ever read this article, he would simply shout me a mochaccino if our paths ever cross. You see, when I very first picked up the quill, that was my five-year plan. I was taught that it is best setting your goals this way and working backwards from there. Made perfect sense to me. I could have chosen world domination or a small Caribbean island to colonize but instead I plumped for sharing a frothy beverage with QT at Starbucks. Come to think of it; I would even pick up the tab.


He fascinates the living shit out of me and I think that is largely due to the fact that I can identify so much of myself in what he says. Like him, I grew up idolizing the media of film, and always viewed it as far more than simple entertainment. Everyone learns in a different way and some select literature as their chosen tool but I’m guessing that, like myself, he isn’t much of a cover-to-cover reader and I’m going out on a limb on that one. Should the fascination be strong enough and you pay enough attention to small detail then watching movies need not necessarily be just about releasing projectile popcorn or clambering to first base with your date. Indeed, many of my life lessons have been delivered in around 90 minutes by a teacher that encourages us to read between the lines. A capable performance can help with this process and needless exposition becomes superfluous if both the screenwriting and delivery are up to snuff. Thus, I never saw fit to burrow away inside a good book, as I could watch a whole host of films in the time it would take to soak in War & Peace. I’m reasonably assured that Quentin would share this view and I’m also pretty confident that, like me, he rolls his eyes every time he is reminded that a film isn’t as good as the book it is based upon. Again, just a hunch.


As it turns out, he is a wonderful writer, and famed for his sharp dialogue and observational skills. However, and this I do know, he doesn’t consider himself a writer first and a filmmaker second. On the contrary, the Tarantino experience is much more than simply purty prose. Like myself, he is aware of the five senses that most of us possess, and wishes to engage as many as feasible at any given opportunity. His visual style is distinctive and also widely varied dependant on what he is driving at; while his audio selections complement these choices exquisitely. If he is to prove to the world that film has the power to achieve more than simply passing the time; then he is damned well going to use every tool at his disposal and he does so without exception. His influences are too numerous and laborious to list but he is disinterested in simply paying the homage card when technology is moving forward so relentlessly, offering him a chance to do more than paying polite reverence to his personal heroes. Sucking others’ dicks is all well and good but he doesn’t wish to be remembered as the funny looking guy with a deep throat. He’s not here to play it safe.


Which leads me to the controversy. There has been plenty of that over the years, since Reservoir Dogs gave him his first taste of being regarded the black sheep in the flock. Many have taken him to task over the content of his features and poor Quentin has been accused of everything from being a racist, misogynist, or plain old rotten apple. This is, of course, utter claptrap and it saddens me that, even now, he has to defend himself on so many wrongful counts of being a lousy role model. A case in point would be Django Unchained; one of the best westerns of the past thirty years and worthy of a shrine being erected in his honor. Certain zealots took great umbrage to his overuse of the N-word, which I find staggering considering it tells the story of a black slave in nineteenth century Mississippi. Among those griping were a man whose films have also provided me endless scholarship, Spike Lee, and I lost a little respect for the little guy on listening to him rattle off his reasoning for Quentin being little more than a white devil. Is it just me or did the whole racism debate get old back in the 1990s? It’s an easy card to play and, moreover, a cheap shot by somebody well enough educated to know better. Let’s all hate on Tarantino shall we? Sad, very sad indeed.


Speaking of which, I have been itching to release a little venom in the direction of a certain British journalist who attempted to bait Tarantino during an interview given under the provision that it was to promote, you guessed it, Django Unchained. Krishnan Guru-Murthy later managed to rile Robert Downey Jr. by trying the same vile trick and, on both occasions, came away looking like the diseased rodent that he is. I’ve watched this cretin attempting to corner politicians many times and admittedly they often deserve to be made to sweat on account of their broken promises and questionable company expense tallies.


However, when he tried the same tact with Quentin, he highlighted the very reason why I believe the British media to often be comparable to a cancer. Of course, this opportunist heathen came woefully unstuck when attempting to throw the age-old “violence in movies” debate into a seemingly innocuous interview and Tarantino could so easy have been far crueller given the stupidity of the question he was posed and the false pretense under which he was lured into offering this cock jockey his precious time in the first place. I say set the gimp on him.

TOKYO, JAPAN - FEBRUARY 13: Director Quentin Tarantino poses for photos before the special screening of 'Django Unchained' at Shinjuku Piccadilly on February 13, 2013 in Tokyo, Japan. The film will open on March 1 in Japan. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Anyhoots, now that I have gotten that off my chest, back to celebrating this great man for his formidable body of work and the enthusiasm with which he tackles every project he is involved in. I think that is what appeals to me the most; the excitement in his eyes which never fades despite a few undesirables attempting to take him down a peg or two. At no point has he become jaded by the negativity spouted in his direction and instead he has demonstrated the courage of his conviction consistently throughout his dazzling career. As I mentioned, The Hateful Eight will be his eighth motion picture, and I am of the opinion that each of the previous seven are of considerable merit. Certain quarters believe his Grindhouse segment, Death Proof, to be a blot in his copybook and I wholeheartedly disagree with this theory. It may well be the least memorable of his movies but he did precisely what he set out to and with the usual trademark swagger evident in any of his works. Likewise, Kill Bill Part 2 is often regarded to be inferior to the first installment but, once more, I don’t buy into opinion this one iota. Of course, film is a subjective media and there will always be debate but that is something Tarantino welcomes as he would be the first offering his own take should the situation be reversed.


Quentin himself has suggested that, if he wasn’t a filmmaker, he would likely be best qualified to be a film critic and he has proved this by speaking frankly on numerous occasions about other movies which have either resonated or left him unmoved. However, he doesn’t confess to be the Dalai Lama; simply a guy who likes to talk about his passion and do so without reservation or fear of putting noses out of joint. Some would say that he should be able to take back what he dishes out but, should you listen to his analysis of any piece of art, it is always offered constructively and objectively. He ain’t perfect but neither is that a goal he strives for. His films, on the other hand, are pretty damned close more often than not. Had he only ever gifted the world Pulp Fiction, then he would have done enough to warrant himself a place at my top table as it is as close to flawless as film gets in my eyes. The fact that he continues to fire on all available pistons over twenty years on is testament to both his unfaltering passion and boundless ability. Bottom line; he’s just an avid film buff who appreciates the effect that a well made movie can have on an audience who has the brass balls to do something about it. In that respect, there are few role models quite as worthy as Quentin Tarantino.

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